BBB National Programs Archive
CARU Recommends Dynacraft Modify Broadcast Advertising to Better Depict Adult Supervision
New York, NY – May 22, 2013 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit has recommended that Dynacraft BSC, Inc., modify broadcast advertising for its three-wheel skateboard, the “Urban Shredder by Hot Wheels,” to better depict adult supervision.
CARU is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
The Urban Shredder is an electric powered three wheel skateboard with a 250 watt motor that can reach speeds of up to 10 mph. A child rides the Urban Shredder in a crouched position on his knees while gripping the handle bars to steer, accelerate and brake. It is recommended for children aged eight and up with a 150 pound weight limit.
The 30-second and 60-second commercials at issue featured a child riding the Urban Shredder at a fantasy “Hotwheels” test track, observed briefly by four adult race-car drivers – members of “Team Hot Wheels.”
The advertising included a video super that stated: “Do not ride on street, around cars, or in foot or vehicle traffic. Always use safety equipment, such as a full face helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, gloves and wrist guards. Ages 8 and older. Parental supervision recommended.”
CARU questioned whether the advertising adequately disclosed the need for adult supervision.
The advertiser contended that the presence of “Team Hot Wheels” members conveyed the message that adult supervision is required and argued that warnings on the product packaging, in the Owner’s Manual and on the product label emphasize the need for adult supervision, eliminating the need for additional disclosures.
Following its review of the advertising, however, CARU determined that the interaction between the THW and the boy riding the Urban Shredder did not rise to the level of adequate adult supervision.
CARU determined that warnings on packaging and in the owner’s manual were not adequate and found that the written disclosure at the bottom of the screen was not sufficient.
CARU noted in its decision that it has held that “in cases where the issue involves supervision … the need for adult supervision should be made clear in commercials through both an audio disclosure as well as a visual representation of a supervising adult.”
CARU recommended that the advertiser modify the advertising to adequately depict adult supervision and include an audio disclosure to inform children that adult supervision is required.
Dynacraft BSC, Inc., noted in its advertiser’s statement that it was “disappointed by CARU’s determination in this matter. The safety of children using our products is of paramount importance to us, and we continue to strive to portray our products in a way that promotes safety and is consistent with applicable advertising guidelines. Should the Urban Shredder commercial be aired again, it will be appropriately modified.”